Plane journeys are taking hours longer as pilots avoid Ukrainian airspace 4 months ago

Plane journeys are taking hours longer as pilots avoid Ukrainian airspace

Some flights gained three hours

In the midst of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the closing of airspace across Europe, airlines have found themselves hit with higher prices and longer flights.

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On February 27, the EU announced that "any plane owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person" would no longer have access to its airspace. In response, Russia closed its own airspace to 36 countries, including the UK and all members of the EU.

To combat this, airlines have had to envision new flight routes, which creates longer flight times and steeper prices.

Russian airline Aeroflot was one of the first to be hit with their Serbia to Moscow flight, now having to take an alternative route to avoid eastern Europe. Instead, the plane had to fly around Bulgaria and across Turkey to reach Moscow, which took three hours longer than usual.

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In UK airspace, British Airways found their New Delhi to London flight gained an extra hour of flight time. Experts say these situations are increasing the price of fuel, labour and maintenance, leading to a possible increase in passenger fares.

"Some routings will simply become uneconomic or impractical," aviation consultant Robert Mann told ABC News.

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However some airlines are straight-up suspending flights. Virgin Atlantic axed cargo services between London and Shanghai and Finnair stopped flights to Japan, China and South Korea.

UnSplash Virgin Atlantic said safety and security comes first/Via UnSplash

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers by slightly longer flight times," a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told Reuters.

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"The safety and security of our customers and people always comes first and we're monitoring the situation in Ukraine and Russia extremely carefully following the escalation of conflict, continuing to operate in full compliance with relevant safety regulators, authorities and governments."

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